KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It pays to be alert, especially if your credit card, or cards, are linked to PayPal’s digital wallet. A Knoxville woman’s keen eye and constant vigilance in watching her PayPal account saved her a lot of headaches.

Ellen’s account was hacked in mid-December. She found two fraudulent charges, one was in cryptocurrency, and the other came from India. Ellen immediately disputed them and it took a week or so to get things straightened out.

Ellen asked that we not use her last name in this story.

Ellen uses her PayPal account when making a purchase online. As a retired technical writer, she is pretty up to date on things going on in the world, but digital currency? Ellen doesn’t use it. In early December, a suspicious charge drew her attention.

“I received an email saying that Irma Hernandez Campo had requested $447.99. I thought I don’t usually spend that much, okay? So I sent an email for a fraud transaction. Then, I got this one. It says we have completed our review of your unauthorized activity case and we have determined there is no unauthorized use. They said it was cryptocurrency. They said it was consistent with my PayPal history. I’ve never had any digital currency whatsoever,” she said.

As she was talking with customer service, the representative told her about a second charge.

“He said, I got another email saying there was an S.K.Shadab, $599.90,” Ellen said.

In the small print under contact, it shows the charge came from India.

“I also sent them another fraud letter and evidently they agreed with me on this one. They had determined it was fraud. So they canceled it,” Ellen said.

When she looked closely, Ellen also discovered that Xoom is a PayPal service. She says Xoom allows you to send money around the world to pay international bills, like a charge from India.

“When I signed into my PayPal account I automatically became part of their Xoom. I wrote them a letter about that. I said I don’t think that is legal. I said I had no desire to be hooked up with Xoom,” Ellen said.

Xoom’s customer service sent a letter reassuring Ellen her personal information is secure. Nevertheless, she wasn’t pleased.

“Oh yes, I canceled my credit card. I took everything off of PayPal that I could,” Ellen said.

Ellen’s account is now closed. By checking her bills, she successfully kept the scammers from stealing her money.

“I’m just glad I didn’t lose any money. Thank goodness they had a place on there where you could cancel transactions. Because these were definitely not my transactions,” Ellen said.

In general, PayPal is considered a safe way to send money and shop online. Of course, no platform is foolproof, but an assessment by the cybersecurity risk management company called Up Guard gave PayPal an “A” rating for its security practices.

As Ellen said, it does pay to check up and read any of your online charges closely.